Branded Gifts are Not Gifts

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Imagine this: You want to let a client know how much you appreciate their business. You loved working with them, and you want to maintain that relationship. 

So, what do you do? 

If your first thought was to send them branded corporate gifts, like a mug with your company logo on it, think again.  

Most clients and employees see branded gifts as lazy. After all, companies tend to buy these branded business gifts in bulk and use them as cheap marketing for their business. In fact, just 9% of recipients say that branded gifts make them feel special or valued.  


Branded gifts have their place, but what if you could make your gifts stand out from the sea of competitors? What if you could give something more sincere and impactful? 

We’ve all had the mass-produced cards with the font made to look like handwriting, printed on cardstock with the company crest front and center. Or the mug with the logo smacking you square in the face. 

How do people expect these types of gifts will be received? And why does anyone stay on the branded corporate gifts train? 

Is it because this time the logo is yours? Do you think the recipients will appreciate your branded gifts in a way they don’t from other companies? Your clients probably don’t even wear the branded clothing from their own office.  

So, if clients don’t want keychains or pens featuring your company logo, what should you give them to show your appreciation? What exactly is wrong with a branded gift?

The Gifts Feel Disingenuous 

“Oh, sweet! I’ve always wanted a chef’s knife with someone else’s name and phone number stamped on it!” said no one ever. 

Chances are those knives, regardless of how nice they are, will be kept in their case and placed into the knife graveyard drawer along with all the other gadgets that never get used. 

Take off your business owner hat for a moment and put on your consumer (or human) hat.   

The goal of gift-giving is to make the recipient feel special, to inspire happiness, or to show gratitude and respect. When you hand a client or employee a branded corporate gift with your company logo or slogan, you diminish your gift’s potential impact. You can even do more harm than good, causing the recipient to feel slighted.  

While little trinkets like stress balls and pens are perfect for showing off your logo, for an even larger impact, opt for a gift without your branding and choose something your clients would actually enjoy and use.  

Branded Gifts Feel Self-Serving 

When you give someone a gift, the aim is to show gratitude to the recipient, and that should be as clear as possible. Make it about the recipient!

A corporate gift can be far more impactful with a touch of personalization. Consider giving one-of-a-kind mugs to your clients with their name on the item, not yours. They will be more inclined to use these mugs and will likely remember who took the time to give a thoughtful gift. No need to remind them that you’re a financial advisor every chance you get. You shouldn’t have to shout about your business. That’s what your reputation is for. 

Personalized gifts inspire conversation in a positive way. “Look at what my financial advisor gave me! So cute, huh?” And your word-of-mouth reputation naturally grows. 

A Gift Shouldn’t Be Marketing 

Pay close attention to where the swag bags and “goodies” end up at conventions. The last thing we want as a business owner is to let our clients feel like they just went to a convention and picked up a pile of useless swag.  

If you want your clients to feel special, your gifts should be thoughtful, personalized, and delightful. You want the recipient to feel like you had them in  mind the whole time when you were choosing their gift.  

You shouldn’t need branded gifts to remind your customers of your services. If you want your past clients to come back to you for repeat business and send you referrals, the best thing you can do is to provide a remarkable customer experience.  

Offering fantastic service is the bare minimum in today’s economy. Make your client experience so unique that the conversations are happening without you asking for it.  

The truth is, the best corporate branded gifts aren’t branded at all. They are personalized to the recipient, thoughtful, and useful.  

Let your clients and employees know that you’re thinking about them, you value the professional relationship you share, and you remember important days in their lives, with an employee care package or a client care package.

If a gift is part of your client experience, don’t try to make it double as a business card.